Food Rotation to Help Prevent Food Allergies
We’ve had previous discussions about the symptoms of a food allergy, this time I’m taking a different approach to addressing this serious issue. Following a recent conversation with one of our Old Mill families regarding their dood’s ever changing intolerance to foods, I did a little bit of investigating.
Just to be clear, food allergies are different from food intolerance. I repeatedly stress the need to avoid variety with the Doodle puppies – this is due to an apparent sensitive digestive system, not an allergy.
Food allergies are the over-response of your dog’s immune system to an invading protein. In the case of a food allergy, this protein is contained in your dog’s food. Proteins are present in most of the foods your dog eats. While most people recognize that meats are a source of proteins, there are also proteins present in grains and vegetables. Any one of these proteins has the potential to cause a food allergy.
Assuming that you’ve determined your Doodle’s symptoms indicate a food allergy, the first step is an elimination diet— feeding a food that has a different protein (meat) source and a different carbohydrate (grain) source than what your dog has had before. Common anti-allergy food would be a venison and potato formula. This prevents the immune response from continuing to be triggered. Your vet may recommend a “hypoallergenic” diet – I’m of the belief that the easier (and less expensive) approach works too.
Winston, our sproodle, was showing signs of a food allergy after eating the same food for 10 months. I switched from the chicken based diet to a lamb and rice variety and his paw licking stopped, however, the ear infections never quite went away.
Once you’ve found a food that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction, it’s extremely important to rotate that food with other equally well tolerated formulas in an effort to avoid developing a new resistance. Studies have shown that a dog with food allergies is very likely to develop a new allergy to ingredients fed exclusively. A food that only has one or two protein sources can be helpful in giving you more choices later on should your dog develop an allergy. For example, you feed a diet with chicken as its sole protein source and your dog develops an allergy to it, you can easily find a diet that doesn’t contain chicken. I‘ve switched Winston to the Taste of the Wild line of grain-free kibble. Their line of foods has a fairly consistent base, with several protein varieties to select from. By switching between the varieties I’m able to rotate Winston with every bag and still avoid the gastric upset that might come from switching brands each time. Taste of the Wild isn’t the only brand of dog food available that offers a wide variety of protein sources and I do plan to completely switch to a different brand in 6 months to a year. I will keep Winston on a grain and chicken free diet though, since his ears have remained infection free on his grain-free food.
While your dog is on any special diet, it’s very important that she doesn’t get any other food such as cookies, treats, rawhides, people foods, etc. Since you don’t know yet exactly what she is allergic to, you don’t want to give her something other than her food and trigger the allergic reaction. Once you’ve got her on a food that she is not reacting to, you can start to reintroduce treats, one type at a time. If your dog reacts, you’ll know exactly which food (or foods) causes the problem.
Signs of Heatstroke
Our doodles need to be watched closely this time of year for signs of heatstroke. The human body releases excess body heat by sweating, a dog doesn’t have that ability. You’ll see them pant and try to place their tummies against the cool ground – occasionally digging in the shade in an effort to find the cooler damp soil. Unfortunately their method of cooling off doesn’t always work as well as it should, especially if they’ve been exercising or in a crate in a hot room. The result is heat exhaustion, which can lead to heatstroke.
Initial signs of heat exhaustion are accelerated panting and rapid heartbeat. If the condition progresses to heatstroke you may notice muscle weakness and/or collapse, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and possible seizures. A normal body temperature for your Doodle is 100.5° to a102.5°, if your Doodle’s rectal temp reaches 105° you need to seek veterinary assistance.
If your Doodle is showing early signs of heat exhaustion, bathe or hose him down with cool, not really cold, water – and do not use ice. The reason for a gradual cool down is that drastically cold temps will make the blood vessels in his skin contract and he’ll lose his ability to release heat through his skin. Don’t wrap him in a wet towel because again, you’re trapping heat in. A cool wet towel for him to stretch out on is good. In mild cases, with proper home care, your Doodle will recover without any heatstroke problem.
how to reduce the risk
• Most important – never, ever leave your dog in a car on a hot, humid day even with the windows cracked open. A dog can die in a hot car in only 10 minutes.
• Keep your home at a comfortable temperature, even while you’re at work. If you don’t have air conditioning, leave a few (screen covered) windows slightly open to create a cross-breeze.
• Avoid over exercising your Doodle during the hottest hours of the day. Remember asphalt and pavement can burn his foot pads. If he shows signs of being tired, allow him to rest.
• Keep your Doodle out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
• Always provide access to fresh water .
• Avoid taking your Doodle to the beach in the middle of the day. If you do go to the beach, take a beach umbrella to provide him with shade.
• If he spends time outside while you’re at work, make sure he always has a cool shady spot to relax in – not a dog house in the sun.
• On hot days, I wet a bath towel with the hose, wring it out, and place it in with the puppies – they love to claim their little spot for nap-time.
1. 1Cup dessert wine
2. 1/3 Cup sugar
3. 1 peach, pitted and thinly sliced
4. 1 nectarine, plum, or apricot, pitted and thinly sliced
5. 1 store bought sponge cake (I use pound cake)
6. Raspberry cream
7. 1 Cup heavy whipping cream
8. 5 ½ oz. raspberries
9. 1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
Place the wine and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy. Set aside to cool. Place the fruit in a bowl and pour over just enough syrup to coat the fruit slices. Cut the sponge (or pound) cake into 8 slices and place 4 on plates. Spoon over ½ the remaining syrup to soak the cake. Because the pound cake will absorb juice faster, I don’t allow it to sit as long.
Spoon ½ the raspberry cream onto the cake slices, then ½ the fruit. Repeat the layers – cake, syrup, cream, fruit and serve immediately.
Beat with cream until soft peaks form. Lightly crush raspberries with a fork and fold, along with sugar, into cream.